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Thursday, July 25, 2024

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Newcomer Jaylen Nowell provides spark as Grizzlies beat Mavs 108-94

DALLAS — A week after signing a 10-day contract to shore up the Memphis roster, Jaylen Nowell scored 19 points and helped the Grizzlies beat  Dallas 108-94 on Friday night with Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic out for personal reasons.

Desmond Bane scored 30 points and the depleted Memphis Grizzlies won consecutive games for the first time this season.

“We know he (Nowell) can score at a high level, but his ability to drive and kick and get to next actions, play pick-and-rolls is really impressive,” Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “The biggest thing is getting him acclimated to our defensive system. I’ve actually been really impressed.”

Kyrie Irving struggled early in the absence of his fellow All-Star, missing all seven shots while finishing with one point before the break as the Mavericks shot 35 percent and fell behind by 15.

The eight-time All-Star finished with a season-low 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting, and Dallas shot a season-worst 37 percent overall.

Doncic, third in the NBA in scoring at 31.1 points per game, missed a game for the first time this season as did Dallas’ third-leading scorer, Tim Hardaway Jr., out with back spasms.

“It was a young group out there,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “No excuse….”

Memphis, which has struggled to overcome a string of injuries, has played all season without suspended star guard Ja Morant. Marcus Smart, the guard acquired from Boston in an offseason trade, is sidelined by a left foot sprain.

Santi Aldama had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Vince Williams Jr. added 15 points and 11 boards for the Grizzlies, whose consecutive victories have come after they quickly dropped 10 games under .500 coming off three straight playoff seasons.

“Let’s build off what we’ve done the last three, four days, two games and two practices,” Jenkins said. “And just understand this is something that can propel us to better days ahead. But let’s not look too far ahead.”

Derrick Jones Jr. and Grant Williams scored 16 points apiece to lead the Mavericks.

“We made Kyrie work way harder than he should have tonight,” Williams said. “We have to play with a little more energy. We came out like we had Luka or we had the talent to beat this team, and they came out with the opportunity of ‘We both have guys out, so who’s going to play harder?’ They played harder than us.”

Two nights after a win over Utah that stopped a four-game losing streak, the Grizzlies were up 17 points through the third quarter before a 10-0 Dallas run.

With the Memphis lead at six early in the fourth, Nowell started a 12-0 run with a jumper and a 3-pointer, and Bane’s 3-pointer gave the Grizzlies their first 20-point lead with five minutes remaining.

Bane, who played four seasons at nearby TCU, had his third game in as many seasons with at least 20 points in Dallas. He took it personally when the Mavericks passed on him at No. 18 in the 2020 draft and took Josh Green. Band was the 30th and final pick of the first round.


Grizzlies: At Phoenix on Saturday night.

Mavericks: Host Oklahoma City on Saturday night.


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